While prepping the spread that I shared yesterday, I decided to take note of how I build my weekly layouts and time how long it takes. I get a lot of questions about how long Project Life takes me. It varies based on the week for sure, but on average I assumed about an hour. Turned out it's closer to about an hour and half including photo printing.
Last year I worked on the weekly spreads throughout the week. I really liked the system and had fun with the project. This year, I am pretty much building them all at once, the Monday or Tuesday after the week is over. I am able to do this because I am now sharing the pages a week later on the blog (instead of the following Sunday). As a result, I think my spreads are "better" which for me means they are capturing the stories of the week more fully AND they feel a bit more cohesive.
I absolutely do not think there is a right or wrong way to do this project. For me, it's been all about trial and error and recognizing what works and what doesn't. The goal is to complete the year in weekly spreads and be happy with the layouts - not to develop something monumental or earth-shattering.
So let me break it down.
Monday night I staretd with an empty spread. First I figured out which photos I wanted to use (you can see some on my phone - I create an album of photos for the week I want to include) and the stuff (this week is was a quote from an email and a business card) I had to go with.
Then I sat at my computer and printed photos. I had six from Paul's trip that I cropped into 4x4 squares for an insert. Between my phone and my big camera, I also had seven 4x6 photos and four 3x4 photos that worked.
Below is a video of how I print my 4x6 and 3x4 photos at home. I have shared this before, but if you're new, you might find it helpful.
After printing, I cropped my photos to the appropriate size and rounded the corners. This whole process took me 35 minutes (remember I do little to no post-processing on my photos printing is pretty quick).
Tuesday morning, I started again with everything I had for the week. This included my photos, a quote from an email I had jotted on scratch paper and a business card from my midwife. I also knew that I had two stories I wanted to share. One about the glucose testing and another that didn't make the blog. Those would both be jotted down on 3x4 journaling cards.
My next step is to get photos in pockets. Usually, I add the "naked" photos in first and then see what I can do to embellish and fluff things up. Nine out of ten times I hate the layout at this stage because it feels empty.
Next I add in the "stuff." The quote from my friend was written on a quotation mark journaling card and I sewed the business card to a patterned filler card. I also have a good idea of the layout's color scheme by this point so I am able to add the date card. I used the colors of the photos to help pick the best "date card." Thankfully, there are a lot of neutrals in the set so something will always match, but this was a good week to add the bold teal.
Next I write my journaling on 3x4 cards and add them into the empty pockets. This helps "fill" the space a bit more which I like. Sometimes things get moved around. In this case, the mower photo moved left a pocket.
And last I go through and add notes to the photos that need them. Not all photos need context. Like I didn't write anything on the photo of the lawn mower or the little plants. They sort of speak for themselves. The dresser photo had some great white space, so that got handwritten journaling and I added information to the lamp photo with letter rub-ons. I added a few letter stickers to that market photo and a few date stamps here and there.
Paul's photos needed more, so I added the circle stickers with typed journaling (the text is what he provided me when he emailed the photos). The stickers share what's happening in the photos and they help unify them so they do not seem as random. (I am so glad that I am focusing on including more photos from Paul's adventure and that he is so willing to share with me this year.)
The insert needed something extra so I added the BIG ADVENTURE sticker on top of the page protector. The green works well because it matches the lawn mower photo. The very last step was to add a tab to set it off the background. This makes it clear that there is an insert and it matches the circle stickers.
And I hope that helps explain my process. It was actually interesting for me to break it down in this way and see how I really work through the week. I feel like this method is simple but successful and I will keep doing it until it stops working.
Questions about Project Life? Check here and then if you don't see an answer, ask in the comments. For a full product source list, check yesterday's post. :)